Obama Ordered The U.S. Intelligence Community To Share Intel With Cuba
In the waning days of his administration, President Barack Obama ordered
the U.S. intelligence community to share information with communist Cuba.
MAY 16, 2017 By Sean Davis
Just a month before the 2016 election, President Barack Obama signed a
policy directive ordering the U.S. intelligence community to share
sensitive U.S. intelligence with Cuba's communist government, despite
the fact that one of the top U.S. intelligence official had branded Cuba
as one of America's biggest espionage threats. The presidential policy
directive, which was issued as part of the Obama administration's
efforts to normalize U.S. relations with the Castro regime, required the
Office of the Director of National Intelligence to "exchange information
on mutual threats with Cuban counterparts."
"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) will support
broader United States Government efforts to normalize relations with
Cuba, with Intelligence Community elements working to find opportunities
for engagement on areas of common interest through which we could
exchange information on mutual threats with Cuban counterparts," the
Obama directive stated.
The Obama administration put some flesh on the bones of the October 2016
directive by signing a January 2017 law enforcement agreement with Cuba
officially committing the U.S. to sharing sensitive intelligence with
the island nation's communist regime.
"The memorandum signed Monday commits the U.S. and Cuba to sharing
information, carrying out joint investigations and possibly stationing
law-enforcement officials in each other's countries," the Associated
Press (AP) reported just days before Obama left office. The AP report
characterized the agreement as a "pledge to share intelligence with
Cuban state security."
USA Today noted that Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security
adviser, was physically present at the signing ceremony for the
U.S.-Cuba intelligence-sharing agreement on January 16, 2017.
While the Obama administration's plan to share U.S. intelligence with
Cuban spies was immediately opposed by a handful of Republican members
of Congress, the intel sharing agreement received scant attention from
most mainstream U.S. media sources.
In its primary report announcing the initial Obama administration policy
directive last October, for example, the New York Times did not even
mention the controversial intelligence-sharing agreement with Castro's
government. That report ran on the front page of the newspaper the
morning after the Obama directive was issued.
Several lawmakers noted at the time that the intelligence-sharing deal
with Cuba could result in the communist regime sending U.S. intelligence
James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, testified
to Congress just months before Obama inked his deal with Cuba that the
Castro regime represented one of the top global espionage threats
against the U.S.
"Targeting and collection of US political, military, economic, and
technical information by foreign intelligence services continues
unabated," Clapper said in prepared remarks before the Senate Armed
Services Committee in February of 2016. "Russia and China pose the
greatest threat, followed by Iran and Cuba on a lesser scale."
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American member of Congress,
characterized the Obama administration's deal with Cuba as "reckless,
dangerous, and contrary to U.S. national security interests."
Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.
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